Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Raincoats: The Raincoats [Rough Trade, 1980]
In their dubious pro-am musicianship and unavoidably spacy ambience, both of Rough Trade's very modern girl groups recall late-'60s art-rock of the Cantabrigian school--Kevin Ayers, Soft Machine, that ilk. But where Essential Logic also recalls art-rock of the Juilliard school, the Raincoats' punk-goes-folk-rock feels friendly even in its arty hostility. If the tentativeness of the rhythms and vocals is accentuated by the medium tempos they prefer, the unevenness of their songwriting means some of it is very good. Sure the multiple genderfuck "Lola" is what sucks you in, but you may end up preferring the other side. As with Lora Logic's sax, the signature and hook is Vicky Aspinall's violin, which she saws rather than plays. B+